Is the DSLR Going Away?

There seems to be an ongoing debate regarding whether or not the DSLR will go the way of film in the near future.  With the improvement of cell phone cameras, Micro 4/3s and mirrorless cameras, some people seem to think there won’t be any need for the big, bulky and heavy DSLRs.  Up until now, I’ve written off the debate as a premature.  Until now…

What’s changed my mind?  Well, on my trip to Oaxaca, I found myself grabbing my Sony NEX-7 more often than not.  Until the introduction of the new Sony Zeiss 16-70 f/4.0 for Alpha lens, I wasn’t in love with my Sony.

Previously, I was using the Sony 18-200 f/3.6-6.4.  Costing over a grand, I just didn’t think it performed up to the standards of even my Nikon D7000, never mind my Nikon D800.  Yes, the NEX-7 has the same sensor as the Nikon D7000 and D71000, but I found the lens lacking in focus speed and, at f/6.3 at the zoom, low light capabilities were nil.  The new Zeiss f/4.0 lens changed that.  As with any camera body, it’s all about the glass.  The Sony Zeiss is fast, both in aperture and focus.  No, it’s not a 2.8 or even a 1.8 lens, but at f/4, it’s sharp with great color contrast.  Honestly, when I look back on my daytime shots in Oaxaca, it’s difficult to tell which camera I used.  Night shooting is a different story.  The D800 and Nikon glass outperforms the Sony in every way.

I’m sure the technology will just keep getting better, but I still have to wonder if these smaller cameras will ever catch up to the standard SLRs.  Light is light and my larger, 2.8 Nikon lenses capture it beautifully.  But for walking around the city, shooting street shots and every day things, the Sony is amazing.  If I need to shoot in the studio, weddings, or at night, nothing beats my D800 and speed lights.

The bottom line, for me anyway, is that owning both will cover everything I need.  The Sony NEX-7 is an amazing camera for what it does, but it can’t compete with my D800.